I’ve been hearing about Compartés Chocolatier and Jonathan Grahm for several years now. But it wasn’t until a recent trip to LA and a visit to their store that I finally had a chance to taste the goods. Was the chocolate delicious? You bet! But what almost made more of an impression on me was the art of Compartés. Whether it was the creative combination of ingredients (white chocolate, rosemary, olive), the beautiful packaging, and even the design of the chocolate bars themselves, everything is done with an artful eye. I was particularly intrigued by their World Series (no, not a baseball reference). The Aztec Jungle bar had me loving life. Milk chocolate and mole . . . yes please!
When it comes to micheledas, everyone you ask is likely to have their own take on this traditional Mexican beer drink, or cerveza preparada. Recipes vary depending on region, as well of course on personal preference. All versions call for a Mexican lager of choice, lime juice and salt. After that, it can get a bit controversial. On one end of the scale you have the minimalists: beer, salt and lime. While on the other end, ingredients often consist of tomato juice, hot sauce, orange juice, fresh peppers, worcestershire and even clamado. Myself? I like to keep it simple, turning up the heat with just a bit of ground chile de árbol. What’s your favorite michelada recipe? Is it a family recipe, specific to a certain region, or simply from a favorite restaurant or bar? I would love for you to share!
- 1 bottle of Mexican beer
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon chile de árbol powder
- coarse salt, chile de árbol powder, and lime wedge for garnish
I love piñatas. There’s something really satisfying about smashing a colorful sculpture to pieces as heaps of candy scatter everywhere. It’s been years since I’ve been to a party where a piñata was the highlight so this year, I’m determined to incorporate it into my Cinco de Mayo festivities. Although a piñata is not the easiest thing to make from scratch, I will say that the process was so much fun – I can’t wait to make more!
- fine crepe paper (cut into 2 inch strips and 1.5 inch strips)
- newspaper (cut into 1.5 inch strips)
- 7-8 sheets of thick cardstock
- punching balloon
- tacky glue
- masking tape
- utility knife
- thick rope
One of my favorite things to make for a party are tacos. All you need to do is prep the meat (which can be done ahead of time) lay out tortillas and condiments, and your guests do the rest! I love, love, love carnitas, but few people know why carnitas are so damn good. The pork is actually made by slowly cooking them in a vat of oil or lard, which gives the pork that rich, moist texture and crispy exterior. Knowing this, I never attempted making them because nothing would make me hate cooking more than braising meat in a large vat of oil for hours. So after a little internet sleuthing, I found several comparable methods that braise the meat in an oven at a low temperature in a shallow layer of oil. The crispy exterior is achieved by then broiling the pork. This was my first time testing this method and the pork was incredibly moist. I loved keeping the carnitas in large hunks and placing them on mini tortillas, topping them with avocado and cilantro, and adding condiments of lime wedges, cotija cheese, pickled radishes and carrots, and hot sauce. Add some cold beer or classic margaritas and these tacos will not last long at your fiesta!
- 3 pounds of boneless pork butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 medium orange, quartered
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 6 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- kosher or sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- mini tortillas
- cotija cheese, crumbled
- lime wedges
- cilantro leaves
- avocado, sliced
- pickled vegetables (recipe here)
When Patrón Tequila asked us to transform their iconic bottle into something special, I was absolutely up for the challenge. I’ve always wanted to use their adorably mini tequila bottles as elegant place card holders at a dinner party – and in this particular case, a gold themed celebration! Also, who wouldn’t love a personalized dose of Patrón at the end of a meal? If you have any ideas of your own, be sure to sign up at The Art of Patrón and submit your Patrón bottle DIY for a chance to win $10,000. Honestly. Let us know what you made, we’d love to see your artistic vision!
- a mini Patrón bottle
- a small hacksaw
- an exacto knife (optional)
- nail polish remover or acetone
- gold spray paint
- painter’s tape
I love anything pickled. So when I saw this recipe floating around on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it. I’m no stranger to pickling vegetables – one of my favorite condiments is do chua, Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots, so I just love this Mexican version with spicy serranos and cilantro. These pickled vegetables are so addictive I found myself snacking on them straight from the jar and I finished the entire thing in a week. They’re also the perfect accompaniment for carnitas tacos, which will be featured later this week!
- 2 bundles of radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 serrano chiles, thinly sliced (you can substitute with jalapenos too)
- handful of cilantro, minced
- 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- kosher or sea salt